St Armand’s Circle

From two and a half years ago, here is my first Yelp! review.
Madison Avenue was owned by a guy called Brian at the time, whom Tim Smith knew. So who knows what it’s like, but if anything started my criticism of stuff, this might be it.


You would imagine that Sunday mornings in Sarasota would be chock full of active retirees spending their golden years sipping coffee and boasting about grandchildren. Or picking each other up, given that our town was voted the best place to be over 70 and single. But neither seems to be true, because finding a decent outdoor cafe that’s even open turns out to be a stretch.

I know this because my buddy Tim and I instituted a Sunday morning coffee routine back in the summer. Using Yelp, we tried all four (4) places that were open at 8:30 am that weren’t called Starbucks. We were shocked that:

a) Those supposedly active retired persons are apparently still in bed, and

b) The choice of coffee places that serve actual coffee is tiny.

Which is why we were so happy to find The Madison Ave. Brian, the owner, runs this clean, cute place on St Armand’s Key, floating in the Gulf of Mexico just west of Sarasota. The outside seating is the place to watch people arrive on bikes, foot and Harley after tooling up and down Longboat Key, but the inside is cool too.

Coffee here is hand-pressed shots from the espresso machine, or a selection of drips from the vacuum container. Food is either Brian’s own fresh pastry selection, made each morning, or regular deli sandwiches and delights. The former are high quality, and I have yet to try the latter. It is, after all, early on Sunday morning, so it’s all about the coffee.

Which brings us back to the fact that in Tim’s opinion and mine, if you’re looking for good coffee and an entertaining outdoor place in which to sip it, The Madison Avenue is about the only place.